Photography forum: Effect of Cold Weather on Camera?

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Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
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blue23rose
Nov 16, 2014 8:13 AM CST
Will taking a camera outside in cold weather cause problems with it later on? If so, what does it affect? Specifically, I'm wondering about condensation and if it causes any issues.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Kindness should be a lifestyle!
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Xeramtheum
Nov 16, 2014 10:58 AM CST
For the most part there will be no problem because the condensation is usually minimal and will disappear once the camera acclimates. That said, if it's a drastic change, say going from 68 degrees to lower 20's & teens you have the problem of the condensation freezing - for most cameras, not too much of a problem. For DSLR's, it can be a problem. What I normally do in situations like that is put the camera next to a drafty window to let it start cooling down. When I'm ready to come in, I'll put it under my coat next to my body and let my body heat start to warm it up before I come indoors. Ideally you want the cool down/warm up to be gradual so you won't get condensation.

The biggest factor with very cold temperatures is that it will kill your batteries rather quickly.

In the case where there is a lot of condensation, just stick the whole camera in a plastic bag with some uncooked rice for an hour or so.



"Don't judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."

Unknown

Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Nov 16, 2014 3:10 PM CST
Thanks, Anne. I was concerned about that. My husband also said that it may affect the LCD display since it has liquid in it, but I didn't know.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Kindness should be a lifestyle!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Nov 16, 2014 4:15 PM CST
In subfreezing temperatures the display might be a problem if you're out for very long - hadn't thought of that - I was thinking more along the lines of the gears in the auto-focus.

As to the display, it wouldn't be a bad idea to find out the freezing temperature of the liquid used.
"Don't judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."

Unknown

Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Nov 16, 2014 4:25 PM CST
In my experience, some cameras handle cold better than others. If yours takes AA or AAAs, you may have better luck with the really expensive lithiums than you will with the alkaline.

Also, that camera-in-rice thing is neat. Rice draws the moisture out of electronics really well. Saved my phone after it took a dive into the dog water bowl. (and if you put the camera in a plastic bag in the rice, make sure the bag is open or it absolutely defeats the purpose).
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Nov 16, 2014 7:45 PM CST
I've taken quite a few pics at minus 10°F. No display screen problems. That was with a point and shoot Panasonic Lumix TZ4. It has a TFT LCD display. Not sure it that matters.....
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Nov 17, 2014 5:32 AM CST
All good info to know. I hadn't thought about the gears in the auto-focus or battery life. I had a Canon S1 IS, an S5 IS, and a Powershot A650 and I'm sure I took one or all of them outside in the cold (probably in the 30 degree range). I now have a Canon T3i dSLR and was starting to worry about cold temps. I guess I'm a little anxious since it is new and don't want to ruin it.

Thanks All!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Nov 17, 2014 5:58 AM CST
More on the rice thing...

I've sent SD cards, USB sticks, and even an MP3 player through the washing machine. A few days in a 20-pound bag of rice dried them all out and I didn't lose any data or functionality. I also didn't use a plastic bag because the point is to draw out the moisture and covering any of the item in question with plastic would impede that process. Besides, the stuff had just been washed, hadn't it?

Also, take the batteries out of the item (and don't power it up). You don't want to risk the possibility of the water causing a short with the device under power.

Rice, however, didn't solve my phone-in-coffee-with-cream-and-sugar problem. That one was a sticky goner.

Moral of the story? If you're gonna baptize your electronics, try to use fresh water for the process (all other things equal). Rice can fix that usually.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Nov 17, 2014 12:12 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing - baptize... good one, asa!

Sounds like I need to keep some rice and big baggies on hand at all times Smiling I currently have a few of those pre-measured pouches of rice on hand. I am guessing that would be good enough and would also keep the rice from going all over the place if I put it in the bag with the camera.

Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Nov 20, 2014 2:53 PM CST
Thanks for asking the question that I was just about to, Vickie... and thanks to those with good information to share!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Nov 20, 2014 6:11 PM CST
You are welcome, Sandy!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 25, 2014 12:38 PM CST
If I wanted to keep rice or rice dust away from a camera, I would tape the camera into a non-glossy paper envelope or brown paper bag. Humidity flows right through paper. Wrapping it in cotton cloth would do the same thing.

But definitely seal the whole thing tightly so the rice pulls water out of the camera, not the entire atmosphere. Maybe inside a Ziploc freezer bag if you don't have a wide-mouth jar with a tight seal. Or two nested freezer bags. That would keep the relative humidity low inside the bag.

You can make uncooked rice into an even stronger desiccant by baking it in a thin layer until just-before-it-turns-light brown. That dries the rice even further and makes it thirstier.

You don't want to let it get brown at all, because that decreases the rice's capacity to absorb water.

I asked the guy who taught me this "what temperature does dry rice turn brown at?", but all he knew was "gas setting # something". You would have to experiment with a small batch, maybe just a few grains on a metal or glass pan.

After you get the rice good and extra-dry, seal it in glass until you dunk a camera or cell phone! Or inside two nested, good-quality Ziploc freezer bags, though the zipper always leaks slowly over enough time.

I haven't tried baking rice myself because I like silica gel as a desiccant. Silica gel is FDA-approved for food applications - it is literally safer than sand. (It's amorphous silica, not crystalline silica.) Silica gel can be regenerated at 250F, or bought at craft stores that have a flower-drying section.
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
blue23rose
Nov 25, 2014 12:55 PM CST
Thanks, Rick. I hadn't thought about the rice dust getting into the camera. I guess that would really muck things up Smiling

Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 25, 2014 1:39 PM CST
Well, if there is enough dust to matter, at the top of the bag.

I do like to obsess over small things.
[Last edited by RickCorey - Nov 25, 2014 5:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Nov 25, 2014 7:13 PM CST
RickCorey said:
I haven't tried baking rice myself because I like silica gel as a desiccant. Silica gel is FDA-approved for food applications - it is literally safer than sand. (It's amorphous silica, not crystalline silica.) Silica gel can be regenerated at 250F, or bought at craft stores that have a flower-drying section.


I was starting to wonder if anyone knew about that stuff... I could see using the rice in a pinch, though. Smiling
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 25, 2014 7:39 PM CST
I think I got a pound and a half of silica gel for around $7-$8. I put a tablespoon or two into a small coin envelope, then staple the flap closed. When I used up the first jar, I bought another rather than start baking the stuff to dry it out again.

Eventually I will bake both used-up batches. But I wish I could leave them int heir paper coin envelopes when I do! But even if the paper doesn't scorch at 250 F, the glue will probably melt.

I rely on small "humidity cards" with several colored dots to tell me the humidity on the inside of containers. If a packet of silica gel can't keep the RH below 30%, it's time to replace it.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Kindness should be a lifestyle!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Nov 25, 2014 8:00 PM CST
I dry a lot of flowers and sometimes use the microwave to dry small batches - say no more than 2 cups at a time. I use a glass baking dish and let it run at high for about 2 - 3 minutes then take a WOODEN spoon and stir it up looking to see if the color crystals are turning blue.

GLASS DISH WILL GET VERY VERY HOT SO MAKE SURE YOU USE GLOVES WHEN HANDING THE DISH THE GEL IS IN.

I keep doing the above until there are no pink crystals left then pour the gel in a metal cookie tin that is on a cooling rack and put the cover on. Once the tin is cool enough to handle but not cold, I seal the lid with some sticky tape if I'm not going to reuse it right away.
"Don't judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."

Unknown

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 26, 2014 1:48 PM CST
I love the cookie tin idea and will adopt that practice.

I would never have tried the microwave, but it sounds convenient. From what you say, I assume this will NOT happen:

Thumb of 2014-11-26/RickCorey/3d464a

My plan was to only regenerate silica gel in the winter, when my house is dry and cold. Running the oven for an hour or two at 250F would keep the furnace from coming on!


[Last edited by RickCorey - Nov 26, 2014 2:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Kindness should be a lifestyle!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Image
Xeramtheum
Nov 26, 2014 2:08 PM CST
Lol .. it won't explode but you can 'over cook' the silica gel - the color crystals will turn black. Also you want to use a good heavy glass dish, pyrex is the best.
"Don't judge your day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."

Unknown

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Nov 26, 2014 2:28 PM CST
I've read the same thing about baking in an oven. The silica "pore structure" is damaged and it can't hold as much water after over-cooking.

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